FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2020) – The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet (EWDC), has awarded grants to 20 Kentucky public libraries for laptop and hotspot lending programs focused on helping Kentucky residents with workforce and educational activities.
KDLA’s Workforce Grants will provide for kits consisting of a computer laptop and Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as funding for up to two years of hotspot service for each library. The recipient libraries also will provide services or programming related to workforce needs such as job searches or digital literacy skills. Fourteen of the selected libraries will receive five laptops and hotspots, and six libraries will receive 10 laptops and hotspots. The libraries lend the laptops and hotspot service to adult patrons to take home to support lifelong learning and employment goals.
“Public libraries have always been a place where people can come to get information, knowledge and education for free. That is even more important this year when so many people have to use computers and Wi-Fi for work and school from home during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, secretary of EWDC.
“Unfortunately, many Kentuckians cannot afford or don’t have access to computers or Wi-Fi, especially in rural areas. That means they can’t look for jobs online or write and send their resume or take a class online, so they are at a disadvantage in so many ways. KDLA’s Workforce Grants help close that digital divide and give Kentuckians who lack computers and home internet access the opportunity to participate,” she said.
Funding for these grants came from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (ILMS) Grants to States Program, the largest source of federal funding support for library services in the United States. ILMS’s first year of funding for the program is $239,288 and includes the cost of the laptop and the first year of hotspot service.
“KDLA is pleased to assist these communities, many of which were struggling economically before the additional burdens levied by COVID-19, through this hotspot/laptop lending project. Residents of these communities will now, with the assistance of their local libraries, have the opportunity to search for employment, apply for jobs, participate in online education, and participate in community activities,” said Terry Manuel, commissioner of KDLA, state librarian, and archives and records administrator.
Libraries were chosen through a competitive application process. The KDLA Workforce Grant was awarded to the following libraries:
- Breathitt County Public Library, five laptops
- Estill County Public Library, five laptops
- Garrard County Public Library, five laptops
- Green County Public Library, five laptops
- Kenton County Public Library, five laptops
- Lincoln County Public Library, 10 laptops
- Logan County Public Library, 10 laptops
- Marshall County Public Library, five laptops
- Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library in Barren County, 10 laptops
- McCracken County Public Library, five laptops
- McCreary County Public Library, five laptops
- Muhlenberg County Public Libraries, 10 laptops
- Oldham County Public Library, 10 laptops
- Pendleton County Public Library, five laptops
- Pike County Public Library District, five laptops
- Powell County Public Library, five laptops
- Pulaski County Public Library, five laptops
- Russell County Public Library, five laptops
- Spencer County Public Library, 10 laptops
- Trimble County Public Library, five laptops
KDLA provides equitable access to quality library and information resources and services, as well as helps public agencies ensure that legislatively mandated documentation of government programs is created, efficiently maintained and made accessible.
For more information on KDLA resources, programs and services visit www.kdla.ky.gov or call 502-564-1702.